Australia And Malaysia Agree To Exchange Refugees

Malaysia and Australia Monday sealed a pact to swap refugees in a contentious new strategy aimed at deterring asylum seekers from undertaking perilous boat journeys to Australia.

Both governments announced the deal in May but were forced to fine-tune it amid objections by opposition politicians and human rights groups.

“The tensions and the way the refugees are being treated and how the police harass them are all a bit painful at times,” said Fr. Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Herald, Malaysia’s largest Catholic weekly.

The deal will send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia and 4000 registered refugees to Australia.

“It does not seem to be a very good solution,” Fr. Andrew said. “This is not a solution that we as Christians would support.”

“There needs to be a concerted action from a moral perspective, from a human rights perspective to safeguard the dignity of these people,” he said.

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